Negative Voltage

Motor Trend Editor-at-Large Angus MacKenzie divulged in his January column, historically devoted to the magazine’s Car of the Year selection, that two years earlier, the announcement of the Chevy Volt had drawn some, um, critical correspondence. An example:

I’ve seen your Car of the Year announcement and realize how fully and completely hollow your rag is. You pass your biases off as fact and outright lies to push your liberal agenda. The Volt is garbage and you know it, but you have crawled in bed with the gutless wannabe dictator Obama. I’m an electronics design engineer by trade, for 32 years, so I know what a crock the Volt is. Americans are not European pussies, like evidently you folks are. No one wants this piece of crap, and darn few will be sold. Only a social and political whore could have so completely sold out their integrity for a joke of a car no man with any balls could possibly want. It is not a triumph nor milestone, just a political waste of time and money.

Now what I want to know is this: why would someone ready to point an accusative finger at “European pussies,” or at a “social and political whore,” characterize the putatively low sales of the vehicle as a relatively bloodless “darn few?” Is there a little device in Microsoft Word to advise you that you’ve maxed out your pejoratives-per-paragraph quota? And if if the software is that smart, why didn’t it beep at the risible “fully … hollow?”

MacKenzie says this was one of the more polite letters that came in:

… no egregiously homophobic slurs, no sudden threats of grievous bodily harm, and no suggestion we’re acolytes of either Adolf Hitler or Karl Marx (hey, political theory is complicated stuff, y’know).

I’ve been critical of some MT stuff over the years — see, for instance, this evisceration of tech director Frank Markus for talking out of his exhaust manifold — but I try to keep the invective on target. Besides which, I am growing weary of this sudden upsurge, as it were, of guys who whine about how American manhood is under attack. Why so sensitive, bro?


  1. Jeffro »

    24 November 2012 · 8:12 pm

    They lost me waaaay back when MT awarded the Orca Chevy Caprice COTY. Chevy must have tripled their normal advertising in that issue.

    No linkage there, huh.

  2. CGHill »

    24 November 2012 · 8:20 pm

    I thought about that. Then again, the ’13 winner is the Tesla Model S, and God knows Tesla doesn’t have any money to spare.

  3. McGehee »

    25 November 2012 · 9:56 am

    Car magazines with professional evaluators on staff are for people who buy vehicles without a — you should pardon the expression — track record. Those of us who don’t want to leave half a car’s value on the dealer lot find out how good a car is from people who do, not from people who write for car magazines.

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